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Report: ECVI Storage Feasibility Project Environment Assessment Component for Shelton and Healy Lakes 00752PARK

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The British Columbia Conservation Foundation is involved in a storage feasibility project being investigated at Shelton and Healy Lakes in the Englishman River. This report identifies and mitigates potential impacts of the proposed operations on the flora and fauna associated with the lakes.

Author:  Wind, E.; E. Wind Consulting; prepared for British Columbia Conservation Foundation

Date Published:  Oct 2008

Report ID:  23730

Audience:  Government and Public

The goal of this project is to maintain/enhance summer discharge rates from the lakes into downstream rivers utilized by various fish species. Adequate discharge rates would be obtained via the installation of a weir in order to access top storage levels of 1 to 2 m. The proposed project would alter water depths and the timing and duration of high water during the spring (e.g., flooded shorelines in spring and early summer). The objective of the environmental assessment was to identify and mitigate potential impacts of the proposed operations on the flora and fauna associated with the lakes. Six Red and Blue listed plant communities were identified at the two lakes. Healy Lake contained the greatest diversity and richness of species and plant communities and could be defined more as a wetland than a lake (two Red-listed wetland plant communities were found.) At both sites, increased water levels would lead to greater inputs of woody debris as shoreline trees died off and a reduction in wetland habitat due to inundation during the growing season and limited upslope habitat. One listed amphibian species was confirmed breeding the Red-legged Frog. Northwestern Salamanders also bred at both sites and Pacific Treefrog breeding was confirmed at Healy Lake. No significant, long-term effects are expected for amphibians at either site as a result of increased water levels. Shelton Lake has low habitat diversity for birds compared to Healy Lake due to the latter sites large marsh area, more complex shoreline, and areas of shallow and deeper waters. The wetlands that occur at Healy Lake are rare and although birds that may depend on them for nesting are likely common species, the wetlands should be considered a significant resource. Because of the topography of the surrounding uplands, forest condition, and lack of rare or special bird habitat at Shelton Lake, no impacts to birds are expected from raising water levels at that site. Vancouver Island water shrew likely live in and around Shelton and Healy Lakes, where habitat is suitable. The terrestrial habitat around Healy and Shelton Lakes was marginal for shrew because of a lack of vegetative cover. The best habitat was in riparian areas-along the creek inflows/outflows to the lakes and in wetlands. Increasing the water level is not likely to negatively affect habitat. The outflow from Healy Lake contained very suitable habitat due to a beaver dam, which would likely be removed or disturbed as a result of the proposed development. This project was co-funded by Living Rivers-Georgia Basin/Vancouver Island (2006-11), a program of the BC Living Rivers Trust Fund. Partners involved in the project include the Ministry of Environment, Department of Fisheries and Oceans, local government, First Nations, and Ducks Unlimited.

Report Type
  Terrestrial Information
  Amphibians & Reptiles - Northwestern Salamander: Ambystoma gracile
  Amphibians & Reptiles - Red-legged Frog: Rana aurora
  Fish Species - Salmon (General) - Oncorhynchus spp.
  Region - Vancouver Island
  Terrestrial Information - Habitat Monitoring
  Fish and Fish Habitat - Restoration
  Vegetation - Vegetation (VRI)
  Watershed Groups - 920 - Vancouver Island (East) Rivers

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